If you were to ask the internet if Land Rovers are popular, by in large the answer would be yes. If you were to ask me, I’d refer you to several photography feeds on my phone which is typically chock-full of Rover shots from all over the globe, but typically below 14th street.
The word is out, Land Rovers are cool; or are they? The answer is still unequivocally, yes. But without bursting the bubbles of the young and loyal, Land Rover has been cool for sometime. Just ask Churchill or Bob Marley – both were Land Rover enthusiasts.
This April marks Land Rover’s 65th anniversary and the release of their Series I vehicle. What was essentially a knock off of the American Jeeps used during World War II, the British manufacturer added their own spin to the all-wheel drive technology developed stateside (Jeep was the first all-wheel drive vehicle), and Land Rover was born. Albeit, originals being built on Jeep chassis. That was 1948.
Today, it’s clear Land Rover is singing a different tune. Not to fret, today’s models continue to be designed for every condition imaginable, despite the spike in soccer moms ditching the minivan or professional athletes jumping on the Rover wagon. At their core, they’re still capable of wading through a several feet of water or climbing elevations too steep to walk. And they don’t look all too bad doing it. Which, along with their technical capacity, the very specific aesthetic has taken them a long way from their humble Newborough, Anglesey beginnings.
Personally, I can’t get enough of Land Rovers. Everywhere I go, my Rover radar is alive and well, with the occasional annoying inspection held street side. And last year, I finally joined the ranks and bought one of these beasts (a ’95 County LWB) which has paid dividends in pleasure and cost dividends in maintenance. And while I’m partial to the older generations, it’s nice to see their odometer hit 65. Happy Birthday Land Rover.
The winter months in the northeast are no-one’s friend. And while it’s no secret that winters in this part of the country are less than desirable, every year I complain, so every year I flee. While the destination is sporadic, there are some common denominators – plus 13 degrees Celsius, availability to adult beverages, and more than eight hours of sunlight. Last month, Istanbul was my final destination.
Istanbul is not a city for the weary. It’s enormous in scale, the layout isn’t for the geography challenged, and well, its dynamic creates a much more intense foreign feeling than some of its European counterparts. All this aside, with no more than four days on the ground, we had our work cut for us. But not to fret, we also had Turkish coffee in our tanks.
Three things can be your best friend when traveling with limited time in any foreign city. For starters, the realization that you cannot and will not see all the stuff you either want to see, or what everyone else said you must see. And, nine of ten times, all that advice from friends and such is typically going to get you surrounded by packs of people wearing white sneakers and carrying a canon point & shoot around their neck. After you accept this simple fact, put together a realistic plan of attack that knocks out certain pockets of a city and has everything you need – shopping, food, culture and of course, libation depots. And finally, if you’re one of the six humans that do not own and iPhone, get your act together, then download the google maps app. The best free purchase you’ll ever make, it works offline and will save you countless hours looking foolish/vulnerable whilst fumbling with an over sized map in the one neighborhood you were told to avoid.
No exception to the rule(s), seeing the mammoth of a city that is Istanbul was accomplished in said fashion. During our four days, we canvassed the city, mostly on foot (the preferred method of exploring), searching for pieces of Constantinople’s past, hidden spots and quickly getting through the white sneaker zones. And while it’s not Istanbul’s fault per se, there weren’t a lot of shopping distractions, which left plenty of time to soak in the former Ottoman Empire.
While, the weather was nearly the same as New York, as was the hours of day light, Istanbul proved to be the perfect break to my seasonal set-back. If it’s not on your list, it should be. The architecture, people and food are all incredible, as is the exchange rate. And while I only dipped out for a long weekend, it only took a few hours to realize I’d be returning.
Holland and Sherry may have one of most robust backgrounds when it comes to fabrics. Since the early 1800′s, they’ve been a premier supplier of fine fabrics and cloths to fashion house and luxury brands the world over. If the English do one thing well, it’s produce quality fabrics – thank that nice weather they’re rumored to have. And if the weather created a need for protective and quality materials, the surrounding climate supplied the necessary ingredients. To this day, Holland and Sherry continue to source their fabrics from Yorkshire, where the climate and water create the perfect environment for finishing the cottons and wools needed for tartans, or tweeds.
After 170 years Holland and Sherry have made a fitting move into garments and wearables. Utilizing their English roots coupled with exceptional fabrics and a Savile Row stronghold, you can bet you won’t be disappointed by what’s on the shelves. I paid a visit to their new retail location last year when they initially opened, and was immediately impressed by both the store and product. If you’re in the area, check it out for yourself.
You can find Holland & Sherry Bespoke at 209 Elizabeth Street, New York.
In early 2010 I traveled across the country by train. While I’ve spent a significant amount of time on trains throughout my life, none having been for any long duration. Subways, commuter rails and short hauls between New York and Boston, or New York and Washington was the full make-up of my experience on rails. Nothing even close to what it would take to reach San Francisco; some 70-hours. However, after some initial hesitation I booked a ticket, and would eventually arrive in San Francisco aboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr.
Like so many others aboard the train, it was far more than just a ride across the country, (T Magazine recently discussed some of the more interesting types who ride the rails). I was looking to explore, see the country in a different light, and ride the same stretch of rail that was the first to connect the country’s shores. And to this day, I think taking that train was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Sure it’s a long ride, and yes there are definitely some weird beards on board, but it’s one of the few ways to fully experience just how big and beautiful this country really is.
It was my trip across the U.S. that’s had me looking into other routes around the globe. Since heading out west, I’ve managed to get on a few other trains in a few other countries but have had my sights set on one train in particular; Rovos Rail. Known as The Pride of Africa, the south African railroad cuts a path through several countries, and offers amenities that include safari, chartered flights, and cabins that are bigger than most Manhattan apartments, to name a few. It’s the Rolls Royce of the railroad.
Started almost by accident, Rovos was a pure product of passion. After acquiring an old locomotive, several coaches and potentially facing bankruptcy, what was initially a personal endeavor quickly became a commercial offering, and Rovos Rail was born. Just over 20 years later, Rovos operates with more than 10 locomotives, over 100 coach cars, and is considered one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world.
Rovos hangs their hat on not only the impeccable quality of their service and equipment but also on the journeys they offer. One of the main benefits of taking a train, where ever you are, is blazing a trail typically only traveled by the train. This is where Rovos Rail embarrasses similar railways. In addition to operating one of the most impressive fleets of refurbished antique cars and coaches, Rovos carves a path through a section of the globe experienced by less than one percent of people in the world. And with full ownership of everything from the cars and coaches to the actual stations, no detail is left by the wayside. Oh, and a champagne toast is celebrated before every journey, no big deal.
It’s true, the Sierra Nevada mountains or Nebraska under moonlight isn’t a south African safari aboard a vintage train with drinks that are aged a minimum of 18 years. And, while Amtrak is a far cry from Rovos Rail, or nearly any other train in the world for that matter, it did give me a true appreciation for traveling by rail. And hell, if you’re going to spend five plus days on a train, best make it count. [Rovos Rail]
If you’re in the New York vicinity this Thursday, head over to the Impossible Project and check out Lost Ceremony. Shot by friend and photographer Adam Marelli, Lost Ceremony is a unique and in-depth look at ancient traditions, specifically within the Japanese culture. Also worth noting, there will be a tea master (that’s right, tea master) on-hand as well as sake from the Shushinkan Brewery. Hope to see you there.